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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Science News from 2020

Dr. Carlos Zarate
NIMH’s Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch within the NIMH Intramural Research Program, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Image of brain neurons
NIH-funded Study Sheds Light on Abnormal Neural Function in Rare Genetic Disorder

A genetic study has identified neuronal abnormalities in the electrical activity of cortical cells derived from people with a rare genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

National Institute of Mental Health
Media Advisory: NIMH Researchers Available to Discuss Suicide Prevention

Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health are available to speak on topics related to suicide and suicide prevention, including the warning signs of suicide, suicide prevention methods, trends in suicide rates, how to find mental health help and support, and the latest in suicide prevention research.

blueprint style line drawing of human brain
Study Shows Highly Reproducible Sex Differences in Aspects of Human Brain Anatomy

A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain.

photo of residential street with bright street lights at dusk
Outdoor Light Linked with Teens’ Sleep and Mental Health

A large-scale study of U.S. teens shows associations between outdoor, artificial light at night and health outcomes.

Image showing HIV infection of CD4+ T cells in the mouse brain. Human T cells (magenta), human astrocytes (red), HIV (green), nuclei (Blue). Arrows identify uptake of HIV from astrocytes into T cells. Credit: Al-Harthi et al. (2020)
Brain Cells Can Harbor and Spread HIV Virus to the Body

Researchers funded by NIMH have found that astrocytes, a type of brain cell, can harbor HIV and then spread the virus to immune cells that traffic out of the brain and into other organs.

a pair of hands holds another person's hand in a gesture of comfort
NIMH Leadership Describes Suicide Prevention Research Priorities

In a new paper, published in JAMA Psychiatry, NIMH looks forward, outlining the next stages in the Institute’s suicide prevention research priorities.

National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH Director’s Statement on Racism

Right now, people across the country are currently coping with yet another episode of violence perpetrated against a person of color. In this Institute Update, Dr. Gordon addresses recent events.

NIMH Strategic Plan logo
New NIMH Strategic Plan Paves the Way for Advances in Mental Health Research

The Strategic Plan for Research advances the Institute’s mission and helps guide future mental health research efforts.

photo of hospital emergeny sign with hospital builing in background
Emergency Drug Overdose Visits Associated with Increased Risk for Later Suicide

A new data analysis has found patients who visited the emergency department for an opioid or sedative/hypnotic drug overdose were at higher risk of dying by drug overdose or suicide in the year after being discharged relative to the general population.

Black silhouette of a toddler, teen, and adult placed against a yellow and blue background.
Infant Temperament Predicts Personality More Than 20 Years Later

Researchers investigating how temperament shapes adult life-course outcomes have found that behavioral inhibition in infancy predicts a reserved, introverted personality at age 26 and for some, a risk of internalizing psychopathology such as anxiety and depression.

a pair of hands hold a mobile phone; the index finger of one hand is touching the screen
Digital Mental Health: Innovating in a Time of High Anxiety

Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.B.B.S., of Duke University School of Medicine, discuss the use of apps to manage mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

National Institute of Mental Health
Media Advisory: NIMH Experts Available to Discuss Mental Health Concerns Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are available to speak on a variety of topics related to mental health and the coronavirus pandemic, such as the effects of the pandemic and isolation on those with and without mental illnesses; healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and loneliness; how to talk with children and teens about the coronavirus; and how people can find mental health help and support if they need it.

This is a photo of two people holding hands.
Supporting Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful – it can be difficult to cope with fear and anxiety, changing daily routines, and a general sense of uncertainty. Taking steps to care for your mental health can help you manage stress.

This is an image of neuronal receptors.
Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

An innovative NIMH-funded trial shows that a receptor involved in the brain’s reward system may be a viable target for treating anhedonia (or lack of pleasure), a key symptom of several mood and anxiety disorders.

illustration of a human head with braiwaves superimposed at the top
Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication

NIH-funded research uses machine learning algorithm to predict individual response to a commonly-prescribed antidepressant.

Susan Amara, Ph.D.
NIMH Scientific Director Susan Amara Selected as AAAS President-Elect

Susan Amara, Ph.D., scientific director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has been selected to serve as president-elect of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS).